Recently Infected, Doctor Confused
Dec 17, 2005
I was infected with HIV sometime in August 2005. The reason I am so certain is because I have a paper trail that documents a "negative" HIV result to "positive". Plus, I was going to participate in a clinical study, and some test was performed to ascertain relative timing of infection. 1st "positive" result was 9/13 with the Red Cross nucleic acid test and antibodies test.
My HIV specialist is surprised by my lab results, particularly viral load. From 9/05 to 12/05, my CD4 has ranged from 465 to 654, improving over time. My viral load ranged from 316 to 146, steadily falling over time.
I believe my doctor was expecting a VL between 500 and 5000. However, my body seems to be controlling the virus. Because my VL is so low, I cannot participate in the intended clinical study for recently infected patients.
First, are these values really that uncommon, espcially VL? Moreover, when I was first diagnosed (before any labs) I was told that most recently infected people do not need meds for 4-7 years. If this is the case, wouldn't the VL need to start off very low? Finally, with 4 months of CD4/ VL tests, in your opinion, would you think I am potentially a slow progressor?
I'm having a hard time trying to decide what are "normal" CD4 and VL values for recently infected patients.
Response from Dr. Holodniy
Uncommon, but certainly seen. It is hard to predict who will need meds and when. Everyone has their own set point numbers. There is no "normal" in this case. Some people can have very rapid progression after infection and require treatment sooner. It is too soon to talk about rate of progression.
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